Fringe show is sure to keep audience engaged

It sounds like just the ticket for anyone who has ever felt a little short changed by a Fringe performance.


Experts in financial technology and design are launching a show that lets audience members – quite literally – dictate the brief.

Fringe-goers can design – and word – their own ticket in advance and then watch as the Glasgow Improv Theatre brings the written spec to life.

Audience members will create their own briefs – which include an event description – using a new digital tool called ticket designer.

Actors will perform scenes based on the descriptions in Whose Ticket Is It Anyway? – to be broadcast on the streaming platform Twitch on Thursday (26 August).

Wider project

The show is part of a wider digital research project, based at the University of Edinburgh, called What is a Ticket?

Researchers have created the ticket designer tool to help artists, venues, audiences and ticket companies test inventive approaches to ticketing. They hope to find new ways to engage and connect with audiences in theatres and online.

The research team is exploring what will happen when tickets become more programmable, more data-driven and connect to a range of digital services. It will also seek to develop innovative payment interfaces for the live events sector in future.

Researchers want people to think outside the box office. Options might include building a ticket that listens to their Spotify playlists, a ticket that lets them choose the set list, or even one that earns them money.

Flexible approach

Ticket designers can use a mix of templates, conditions and actions to create, save and share a customised ticket, each with its own unique guidelines.

The team says the return of live events after Covid-19 restrictions is an ideal time to rethink the relationship between audience and performer.

People with bold new ticketing ideas can input to the project by using the ticket designer tool to create their own prototypes.

As more people create tickets, the project team will curate a library of new ticketing ideas, which it hopes will become an invaluable resource for the creative sector.

Research lead Chris Elsden, of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Design Informatics, said: “A ticket is traditionally a piece of paper that gives the holder a certain right to enter a venue and view an event, but digital technology can help to transform this into a more responsive, creative and dynamic experience.”

Data driven

The project is backed by the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, which is led by the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University and a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust have jointly funded the project.

It is part of a research and development programme based at the University of Edinburgh, called Creative Informatics, which brings together the city’s world-class creative industries and tech sector.

Creative Informatics is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Creative Edinburgh and Codebase – the UK's largest technology incubator.

Related links

Audience sign-up 

Design Informatics